Enroll 55-year-old mother in New York to learn English Sign up for retired parents for the domestic university for the elderly interest class

Children reverse "chicken" parents: a gentle "recovery"

Youthful trends

Not long ago, Anna, a blogger in the United States, posted a "reverse chicken mother" post, and she sent her 55-year-old mother to an adult English class. For a while, the topic of reverse "chicken" parents caused heated discussions. In China, cases of "chicken mothers" are not uncommon, and many young people choose to send retired parents to universities for the elderly.

But unlike the ambition of parents when they are "chicken babies", signing up for classes for parents is a gentle "pursuit" that children implement to their parents. Because of "chicken" parents, hard indicators such as academic performance become irrelevant, and children are more concerned about whether parents are happy to learn.


The 55-year-old mother became a transfer student in New York

A few minutes before class started, a stylishly dressed young female teacher walked into the classroom, and the middle-aged woman sitting in the front row exclaimed, "Wow, you are beautiful." Immediately afterwards, the teacher asked her, "Are you praising me?" In fact, praising people is generally not beautiful, and using pretty, breathtaking. Through this conversation, Chen Min (pseudonym) inadvertently learned the first knowledge point of the day.

Two months ago, Mr. Chen, 55, was as relaxed as most retirees. Now she has to get up early four days a week to catch the New York subway and go to class to learn English. And it all started with a personal experience of hers.

Chen Min's daughter Anna has long lived in New York, USA, and she plans to stay in New York for half a year in order to visit her daughter.

Before going abroad, in order to help her daughter go through the formalities, Chen Min once ran to the notary office. The self-service team moved forward slowly and orderly, and when it was Chen Min's turn, she panicked. Seeing that the people around her were operating smoothly and freely against the smartphone, she could only wear reading glasses, her fingers swaying back and forth between those unfamiliar prompts on the screen, and Chen Min, who was overwhelmed, sweated urgently.

When she returned that day, she wrote in her diary: "I am really useless, I have passed the year of knowing destiny, my children have soared high, I have the strength to trot behind me, but at least I am advancing, and I do not choose to rest." ”

"I want to learn something." This is the first time Chen Min has asked her daughter to learn from it in many years. Daughter Anna was surprised, in her impression, her mother has been living a leisurely life since retirement, buying vegetables to cook, playing mahjong, chatting with neighbors, and living in a step-by-step manner. "I think my mother's life can be a little richer, so whether she jokes or thinks about it this time, I assume that she really wants to learn." Anna said.

Not long after, by chance, Anna happened to come across a government-funded adult English teaching program at work, with tuition and textbook fees free. Thinking that English is very practical and can pass the time abroad, Anna immediately decided to sign up for her mother.

One morning in mid-April, Chen Min followed her daughter Anna into the classroom. Before class, the first person to arrive was already chatting quietly in their seats. Just when Anna was surprised that there were many young students in this class, not the "sunset red" class she imagined, Chen Min had already timidly "hidden" behind her daughter. At that moment, Anna saw the embarrassed side of her mother Chen Min. Because in the past, in her eyes, her mother was a somewhat strong "overlord" mother.

Then, Chen Min took her daughter's arm and silently walked to a corner of the classroom and sat down, "She even asked me to sit outside her and 'protect' her." Anna recalled.

Mom "rolls herself"

"Electronic Squeeze" was deliberately replaced with an American drama

Fortunately, Chen Min's fear of difficulty and recognition quickly dissipated as the course progressed. "An aunt next to my mother has been in the United States for more than 20 years, but her English is still at the same level as my mother." Anna remembers that when her mother first came in as a transfer student, there were only two months left before the end of the class. Compared with some of her classmates, her English proficiency is only at the beginner stage of being able to write all 26 English letters, and she still has a little foundation.

In order to keep up with the learning progress of the large army, Chen Min riveted his strength and took notes carefully, as if he had returned to the classroom decades ago. But unlike old learning, adult English classes do not have homework, but instead use in-class tests for each lesson to reinforce learning. The teacher will give time for everyone to think independently and answer, and when the time comes, everyone will be called up in turn to read their answers, and if there are mistakes, they will be corrected directly in class.

What makes Anna unimaginable is that her mother Chen Min will also "roll" up one day. "Every time the teacher gave a new lesson, my mother would record it on her mobile phone and listen to it again while working when she got home." Not only that, since signing up for class, Chen Min has deliberately switched to American dramas even the casual TV series he watched after dinner.

During that time, Anna could always bump into the scene of her mother "picking the lamp and reading at night", "so old, maybe my mother didn't want to be ugly in the next day's quiz".

"However, when people reach a certain age, they become powerless in many things." Sometimes, the words that Chen Min spent all night trying to memorize, often forgot when she woke up, and couldn't think of a better way for a while, so she could only be angry that she didn't use them.

Even walking on the street with his daughter, Chen Min's gaze moved around the passing road signs and billboards almost all the time. Every time she encountered a word she had just learned, she excitedly pointed it out to her daughter and read it to her. In Anna's eyes, her mother at this time was just as cute as a child who had just read and write.

Learning effects

Slowly become interested in unfamiliar things and people

Anna came to New York in 2018, and that year, Chen Min also came to stay for a while. At that time, she couldn't understand English at all, she was not familiar with life, she had no friends around her, her daughter went to work during the day, and Chen Min's daily activities were limited to a few streets in front of her home. More often than not, she just sits in the house alone, holding her phone and scrolling through videos.

"Every day when I come home from work, I have to take my mother out to let out the wind, which invisibly increases my pressure." Anna said, "She was too depressed to be alone, and then she changed her flight and returned home early. ”

But this year, Anna clearly felt that her mother's state had changed. Much of this change is due to learning English. For the two months, Chen Min took the subway alone to school every Monday to Thursday, and took 19 stops from Brooklyn to Manhattan's Chinatown neighborhood. "'Next stop is Canal Street,' and I waited to hear this on the radio and I knew it was time to get off."

Chen Min said that after school, she would occasionally go to the supermarket, so she had to switch from the R line to the N line of the subway, and then take the bus home after shopping. "Mom, she can go out on her own now, but it's too easy for me." Anna sighed.

In the strange city, Chen Min seemed to slowly become interested in the people and things around him. In the past, she always "blocked" foreigners because she did not understand English. Now, every brief small talk between neighbors she tries to understand, and responds with "broken English," even the simplest kind.

The neighbor's grandfather, who lives on the sixth floor of Anna, would greet everyone friendly. Chen Min often met him. In Anna's eyes, her mother and the neighbor's grandfather are magical friends who can't understand each other's speech. Their conversation usually opens with the grandfather asking, "How are you?" (How are you?) The average foreign neighbor would reply, "I'm good." (I'm fine. It's both concise and to the point. And Chen Min always used the most standard answer he learned: "I'm fine, thank you, and you?" (I'm fine, thanks, how about you?) Response.

Immediately afterwards, the content other than the pleasantries will gradually become uncontrollable, Chen Min will continue to guess, empty the word reserve in her mind to deal with it, and whenever the conversation really can't continue, she will skillfully say the sentence: "sorry, I don't speak English." At this point, the neighbor seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and said, "OK, have a good day." (Well, have a nice day) End an awkward chat.

In her daughter's opinion, her mother's English level fell to no more than three sentences in the actual conversation, but Chen Min already felt very content. One day, Chen Min was at home alone, and the building manager knocked on the door and told her several times: "No water by ten o'clock." Later, Chen Min pondered this sentence, and then asked Anna on WeChat whether it meant "stopping the water until 10 o'clock". I heard my daughter say, "Yes! You get the idea! Chen Min's sense of achievement instantly "exploded".

"Before I learned English, maybe you knew what these words meant, but when it was a sentence, coupled with the speed and swallowing of foreigners, I should be blinded." Chen Min said, "Learning is better than not learning." ”

Domestic preferred

Send to the University for the Elderly to participate in interest classes

Later, Anna posted these experiences to social platforms like a small diary, and unexpectedly, this "reverse chicken mother" post resonated with countless netizens. A netizen who is also in the United States left a message, almost 50-year-old mother majored in English at a community college, and also won a full scholarship, and is now very independent abroad, communication is not a problem, watching TV can understand 70%-80%. Of course, some people also shared the helplessness of the failure of the "chicken" mother: "Let my mother study language classes in Australia, and a month later she cried and asked me to help her withdraw from school." ”

Unlike children whose "chicken" parents learn English abroad, children at home have surprisingly the same path against "chicken" parents - sending them to the interest class of the University for the Elderly.

Just last month, Ana (pseudonym) signed up for three interest classes for her mother: choir, tai chi and body. "As long as she can meet people, is willing to go out of the house, and has a new social circle, my purpose has been achieved." Ana has been away from home for too long because she works in a different place and usually knows little about how her parents spend their old age.

When she returned home from vacation, she found that her parents "played separately": her father always went out to play chess, while her mother hardly socialized, just holding her mobile phone to pass the time every day, often scrolling through short videos late at night. Ana felt particularly bitter, she never imagined that her mother's life would one day become dishonorable. So, the next day, she found a university for the elderly and personally "clockworked" her mother's carefree retirement life.

Since then, Ana's mother has had to change her habit of staying up late, and because she has to catch up for morning class, she often wakes up at 7 o'clock to clean up, eat, and carefully match a set of clothes. Before going out, when time permits, she will put on a little light makeup...

Almost for the same reason, Aunt Qi was also arranged by her daughter Xiao (pseudonym) to attend the culinary interest class of the University for the Elderly. Before retiring, Aunt Qi was a teacher, and she did not think that she would have the opportunity to be a student again. But just after one class, she sighed to her daughter: "Being a student is really tiring!" "It turns out that the cooking class is still mainly based on theory, the teacher is explaining the PPT on the stage, and there are already uncles and aunts who are beginning to get sleepy, but even so, they are not allowed to use mobile phones in class." That feeling, don't mention being more restrained. Whenever Aunt Qi complained like this, she would always jokingly say: "You have been in charge of students for so long, so that you can also experience the feeling of being controlled by others." ”

In order to further "supervise" her mother to study, she would deliberately ask her every time she came home, did the teacher leave any homework this time? Do you want to send a video of the cooking process to the class group... Often before her daughter finished speaking, Aunt Qi waved her hand again and again and said, "The teacher didn't assign homework." ”

In any case, Aunt Qi's life has changed gratifyingly, and she has begun to buy all kinds of kitchen utensils: wall breakers, rice cookers, and research new dishes every day. Her craft has improved, which is recognized by her wife: "If I don't have to go to work, I will follow you to learn." ”

Purpose of registration

Let them do what they want to do and have fun learning is the first priority

Not long ago, Anna received a photo from her mother on her mobile phone. It was a group photo taken by Chen Min and her classmates in front of the Metropolitan Museum. "Everyone stood on the stone steps in a row with special boards, and they really had the posture of taking photos in front of Tiananmen Square during the spring swim when I was a child." Anna said with a smile.

She couldn't help but think back to her childhood. That summer more than 20 years ago, I was lying on the tree and arguing, and in the yard outside the door, the children of the neighborhood always gathered together, making noise and screams. At that time, Anna, who was just 5 and a half years old, was almost confiscated all her entertainment time and was kept in the room by her mother to play the violin all day.

Interestingly, Anna is now "in charge", but now she doesn't care about her mother's academic performance and classroom performance. "Unlike our parents' chickens, for whom learning is not the main thing, the important thing is to meet new friends and pass the time."

Anna remembers very well that when she took her mother to sign up for an adult English class, she was asked about the highest education in China, and Chen Min cowardly whispered the word "technical secondary school". "It's a thorn in her heart." Anna said. In fact, Chen Min is the eldest sister in the family, and there are younger brothers and sisters below, and she gave up the opportunity to continue her education in order to help her parents support the family. Therefore, Anna always felt that this English learning was a small compensation for her mother.

Ana also holds the same view, in her opinion, academic performance, classroom performance are not important, and the mother who learns happily comes first. "This is also why I must accompany my mother to her on the first day of class, and I am worried that she will be as nervous and scared as I went to the Children's Palace for the first time when I was a child."

Ana remembers that the first class she experienced with her mother was a physical class. Looking at the other aunts dressed in gorgeous costumes, graceful and confident, Ana obviously felt her mother's cramped and uneasy, "she watched quietly from the sidelines, and did not even dare to make unnecessary movements." In order to integrate her mother as soon as possible, Ana later took the initiative to take her to meet the teacher, class president, and class teacher, greeted each old classmate, asked the aunts to take more care of her mother, encouraged her to walk boldly, and said to her: "Awesome!" You're so good to go! ”

In addition to enrolling her parents in class, in addition to wanting to enrich their retirement life, Anna also thought of a deeper layer, she hopes that her mother can temporarily put aside her "wife" and "motherhood", live with herself as the center, and do what she really likes. (Beijing Youth Daily)

Text/Reporter Wang Jingyi Coordinator/Lin Yan Zhang Bin Photo provided by interviewee